In the world of innovation, we routinely talk about addressing needs as a starting point to frame our thinking. That is what the vast majority of innovation approaches, and practitioners, consultants; preach. There is a huge industry that is booming at the moment because of this, and a dominant model is slowly taking over both the startup and corporate world: Lean Startup.
We can sum up The Lean Startup like this: identify a need that isn’t being addressed, think of a solution, validate that solution with potential customers, iterate to get close to a solution as fast as possible.
While I don’t disagree with addressing people’s needs, I do believe that is a limited view over the long run. It is simple logic, how long does it take for a framework to become a best practice? And, how long until we have undifferentiated products and services?
For this reason, in my workshops, I like to get people to redesign/rethink things for themselves. As I take them through a process of thinking critically about what’s around them, I tell them to “look beyond the problem and see possibilities”, and then create something for themselves.